Whether by creating problem-solving courts, diversion programs, or training initiatives, state courts are working to understand and develop programs to address the impact of human trafficking victims and defendants in the nation's state and local courts. This resource guide provides links to the leading programs and studies involving human trafficking.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
On January 8, 2018, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act was signed into law. The law requires the Department of Transportation to issue lifetime bans on professional drivers who are issued felonies for using commercial motor vehicles for trafficking in persons. Previously, federal law only required that commercial drivers lose their CDL for one year with potential for reinstatement upon conviction of a felony related to human trafficking.
In 2016 the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida launched G.R.A.C.E. Court - Growth Renewed through Acceptance, Change and Empowerment - a specialized court devoted to the needs to children who have been identified as victims of commercial sexual exploitation and labor trafficking. The court is part of the Juvenile Dependency Division and provides comprehensive services and support to these children and their families under protections afforded by the state's human trafficking laws.
The Center for Court Innovation, through SJI funding, provided technical assistance to Hawaii family courts to increase the courts' capacity to implement CSEC (Commercially Sexually Exploited Children) protocols and to address emerging needs for CSEC victims. The first, and perhaps most challenging goal, is to promote proactive discovery and identification of children who are and have been commercially sexually exploited.
The Judiciary of Mississippi, with SJI funding, developed a program "Addressing Human Trafficking Technical Involved Cases in the Mississippi Courts" designed to increase court capacity to perform an effective role in human trafficking involved cases. The program focused on juvenile trafficking and how to 1) identify juveniles within the youth court system who are being trafficked and 2) find services for this population.
Nashville, Tennessee's new Davidson County Human Trafficking Intervention Court is a voluntary court-led program for eligible victims/defendants offering rehabilitation resources, such as drug treatment, counseling, housing, education and job training. The program was initiated by Cherished H.E.A.R.T.S. (Healing Enslaved and Repressed Trafficking Survivors) of Nashville.
The success of pilot courts in Queens, Midtown Manhattan, and Nassau County led New York to a statewide Human Trafficking Intervention Initiative, creating a statewide system of courts designed to intervene in the lives of trafficked human beings. The courts help identify appropriate defendants/victims charged with prostitution and related offenses and provide linkages to services that once completed can help them have their cases dismissed or receive non-criminal dispositions.
Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH) is a specialty docket program in which defendants/victims participate in closely supervised, comprehensive assessment and treatment services, in which the participants are held accountable for their criminal behaviors and for adherence to the program requirements. This Evaluation Study of the CATCH program discusses its strengths and weaknesses.
The National Association for Court Management created this Guide to Addressing Human Trafficking in the State Courts (HT Guide). The HT Guide has the following chapters: 1) Addressing human trafficking in state courts: background and approach; 2) Community courts, specialized dockets, and other approaches to address sex trafficking; 3) Human trafficking and immigrant victims; 4) Child trafficking victims and state courts; 5) Identifying and responding to sex trafficking; 6) Ethical issues for judges and court practitioners in human trafficking-involved cases; 7) Affordable Care Act: assisting victims of human trafficking in rebuilding their lives; 8) Tribal justice and sex trafficking; 9) Addressing complexities of language and culture in human trafficking-involved cases; 10) Labor trafficking; 11) Human trafficking education resources for judges and court practitioners.
Sarah Schweig, Danielle Malangone and Miriam Goodman. The Center for Court Innovations's publication provides an overview of the ideas behind the Midtown Community Court's STARS program, and adaptations of prostitution diversion programs in Queens and the Bronx.
Heather J. Clawson and Nicole Dutch. 2008. This issue brief focuses on the importance of case management in working with international victims of human trafficking from the point of identification until a victim reaches self-sufficiency. It also looks at the characteristics of an effective case manager along with the benefits not only to victims but also to other key stakeholders, including law enforcement and service providers.
November, 2015. Iowa's Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice's Sex Offender Research Council's study of the efforts of Iowa and other states to prevent sex abuse-related crimes, including sex abuse. The study highlights the states' struggle to capture accurate data regarding the prevalence and nature of human trafficking within their states
Ohio is the first state to require Commercial Driver's License (CDL) drivers to take a one hour class in human trafficking. Beginning January 2016, every driver issued a CDL in Ohio will be given a "Truckers Against Trafficking" (TAT) wallet card and all new driver will be provided a one-hour training program.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is an annual publication of the State Department and is the nation's principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on the issue of human trafficking. It is a comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts. Each country is placed into three tiers based on the government's efforts to comply with "minimum standards for the eliminaton of trafficking."
Heather J. Clawson and Nicole Dutch. 2009. This comprehensive review of current literature on human trafficking into and within the U.S. focuses on surveying what the social science or other literature has found about the issues of identifying and effectively serving trafficking victims. A more specific focus concerns the phenomenon of domestic trafficking (trafficking involving U.S. citizens or lawful residents, often within the U.S.), the impact on domestic youth, and the availability and/or effectiveness of services for these victims.
Shared Hope International's 2013 Demanding Justice Benchmark Assessment is an initial assessment of the criminal consequences for those who purchase sex with a minor in the U.S. since 2008. The study found though 48 states have a CSEC or trafficking law that pertains to buyers and buyers were identified in 47 states, only 18 of those states had a federal or state CSEC or trafficking conviction brought against a buyer. Shared Hope International has a wealth of training resources for judges, law enforcement, service providers, child welfare, juvenile justice, social services, etc.
From 2011 to 2014, the Polaris Project rated all 50 states and D.C. based on 10 categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.